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Diabetes cases quadruple in 34 years

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There has been a rise of more than 300 million There has been a rise of more than 300 million in cases of diabetes since 1980

The number of people with diabetes worldwide has risen to 422 million, states the first global diabetes report from the WHO.

In 1980, 108 million people had diabetes, approximately 4.7% of the world’s population. In 2014, the figure stood at 422 million people, or 8.5% of the population. In the UK, 7.7% of the population has type one or two diabetes, while 66.7% are overweight. The report also estimates that 670 men and 440 women aged between 30 and 69 die in the UK each year as a result of diabetes.

According to the report, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Additionally, higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases. It states that 43% of these deaths are premature and preventable through better detection and treatment of diabetes.

‘Many cases of diabetes can be prevented, and measures exist to detect and manage the condition, improving the odds that people with diabetes live long and healthy lives,' said Dr Oleg Chestnov, the WHO’s assistant Director-General for non-communicable diseases and mental health. 'But change greatly depends on governments doing more, including implementing global commitments to address diabetes and other non-communicable disease.’

The report also found that the global cost was $825 billion per year, with the largest cost to individual countries being in China ($170 billion), the USA ($105 billion) and India ($73 billion). The authors said that the calculation did not include work days lost due to diabetes, which would make the costs far greater if incorporated.

Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: ‘This is the first time we have had such a complete global picture about diabetes – and the data reveals the disease has reached levels that can bankrupt some countries' health systems. The enormous cost of this disease – to both governments and individuals – could otherwise go towards life essentials such as food and education.’

The report was released to coincide with World Health Day 2016 on 7 April, which focuses on the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

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